Death of a Manzai Legend 漫才名人の死

Sadly, manzai (two-man stand-up) legend Kimi Koishi passed away this week at age 83. This morning Somemaru left early for the funeral service. Unfortunately I don’t have a black suit and tie, so I stayed home to take care of the cleaning, etc.

Living National Treasure/ hanashika Katsura Beichô, who knew Koishi for many years, issued the following statement on January 23:

Itokoi [nickname of duo] certainly had a refined style of manzai.  They never used  gaudy langauge. They were the epitomy of elegance. I wonder if there are any manzai artists around today who could ever take their place. He [Koishi] was two years younger than me, but he had a longer performance history. He knew so much about the entertainment world of yesteryear. Nobody could stop him if he got to talking about the good ol’ days. Even quite recently I spoke with him for hours in a dressing room at a TV station. I’m truly saddened by his death. (link in Japanese)

Somemaru made the following comments on his blog:

Master Kimi Koishi’s funeral service was held today.  The memorial photograph was of him wearing a hat, cigarette in hand. He sure looked sharp. The assembly hall was packed with people lamenting his passing. Words like these might seem inadequate, but I think they suit this man, an entertainer among entertainers, perfectly. I appeared with him on NHK’s “Kamigata Variety Hall,” which appears to have been his very last job. He was always a sweet man who was so kind to put up on a pedestal a person such as myself. I am saddened by his passing and pray that his soul may rest in peace. Gasshô [palms together in prayer].

Manzai duo "Itokoi," brothers Yumeji Itoshi (r) and Kimi Koishi



長年交流があった落語家の桂米朝さんの話 「いとこいさん」の漫才には品がありましたな。どぎつい言葉は使いません。上品の極みや。今の漫才さんの中に受け継いでくれる人が居るかしらん。私より二つ年下やが、芸歴は古いんです。昔の芸界の様子を実によう知ってはりました。彼と古い話をしだすと、もう止まりません。最近も放送局の控室で何時間も話し込んだことがありました。ホンマに寂しい限りです。(リンク




2 thoughts on “Death of a Manzai Legend 漫才名人の死

    • Yes, indeed… we actually went to NHK yesterday (2/3/11) so Somemaru could give an interview about his relationship with and memories of Kimi Koishi. The interview will be aired nationally next week. Somemaru commented that he and other hanashika learned an incredible amount from this man, for example, his sense of style, and, especially, his sense of comic timing (ma). It also meant a lot to Somemaru that Koishi never looked down on those who were younger than him. This, and other things Somemaru said, speaks to the closeness of comic variety arts such as manzai and rakugo, which are often seen on the same bill at shows.

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